COVID-19 obesity risk higher for men

Reuters , Monday 17 May 2021

Impact of obesity on COVID-19 risks may be greater in men

Reuters

The known increased risk of severe COVID-19 and death linked to obesity may be even more pronounced for men than women, new data suggest.

Researchers studied 3,530 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with an average age of 65, including 1,469 who were obese.

In men, moderate obesity was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing severe disease, needing mechanical breathing assistance and dying from COVID-19. (The threshold for moderate obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 35. In an 5-foot, five-inch tall (1.65 m) adult, that would correspond to a weight of 210 pounds (95 kg).

In women, however, only a BMI of 40 or higher, indicating severe obesity, was linked with the increased risks.

In a report published in European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, the researchers note that while obesity is known to be linked with body-wide inflammation, patients' levels of inflammatory proteins did not appear to explain the association between obesity and severe illness.

For now, they conclude, "particular attention should be paid" to protecting patients with obesity from the coronavirus, "with priority to vaccination access, remote work, telemedicine, and other measures given the higher risk of adverse outcomes once they are diagnosed with COVID-19."

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